God loves every individual personally, said Rollin H. Hotchkiss during the weekly devotional held Dec. 8, 2009, in the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah.
“He knows your name. He knows your circumstances. He hears your prayers and wants to bless you in every righteous desire through His Son, Jesus Christ,” he said.
Sharing experiences from his own life, Brother Hotchkiss, associate chairman for the department of civil and environmental engineering at BYU, spoke of specific personal moments that testified to him of a loving God.
“My purpose today is to share with you five facets of my testimony that show that God loves us,” he said. “These are simple and quite personal. …
“First: I testify that God loves us because He grants unto us the revelator known as the Holy Ghost.”
Brother Hotchkiss grew up in Southern California in a Christian home, and had many friends who were members of the Church. He spoke of how his high school friends chose to attend BYU for college, and — after visiting the campus with his parents — he did the same.
During his freshman year of college, he was introduced more deeply to the gospel and the role of the Spirit in receiving answers to questions. After many good examples of friends and much study, Brother Hotchkiss chose to be baptized, and later served a mission. He said his conversion came as he asked questions and received answers through the Spirit. Just as he found answers to his prayers, he told students they too can draw upon that knowledge and assurance gained through the Spirit.
“Second: I testify that God loves you because He restored the priesthood in general and the Aaronic Priesthood in particular to the earth. I testify that His love is manifest through the gift of the ministering of angels that can protect us and comfort us as we learn more about Him.”
After he was baptized, Brother Hotchkiss said, he received the Aaronic Priesthood and learned the important role of the priesthood.
“I know that the … priesthood is God’s love made manifest to us to protect and serve,” he said. By giving men the gift of the priesthood — the power of God on the earth to bless others — God shows His children He loves them, he said.
“Third: I testify that Heavenly Father loves us because He blesses us so much as we try to serve Him. He meets us much more than halfway when we act on the smallest seed of faith,” he said. “He blesses us all along our journey back to His presence when we incline our ear and heart towards Him.”
Using the examples of home teaching and serving a full-time mission, Brother Hotchkiss spoke of the added blessings he received when he was willing to put the Lord first and serve in the Church.
“Heavenly Father blesses us so that our seeds of faith can grow all of our lives to produce a harvest of happiness as we put the kingdom of God first and allow everything else to follow,” he said. “Each effort I make, no matter how small, is blessed greatly. God is truly generous with His love. …
“Fourth: I testify that God loves us because He wants us to have everything that He has. He puts no limits on how much we can learn, grow and progress.”
With examples found in the scriptures, hymns and words of the prophets, Brother Hotchkiss spoke of the importance of learning, and the knowledge that comes through faith and prayer. The availability of knowledge is a gift manifesting the love God has for His children, he said, as individuals continue to progress to become more like their Heavenly Father.
“Fifth: I testify that God loves us because He sent His Son to atone for our sins and for the sins of all humankind everywhere. This is the most powerful manifestation of all.”
Brother Hotchkiss spoke of the need to remember the ultimate act of love — the atonement of Jesus Christ.
“The Atonement is a gift from Heavenly Father through His Son that we need to remember even more at this time of year. It was the ultimate gift of both the Father and the Son; of the Father, because He allowed His Son to suffer, and of the Son, because of what He did for us. …
“I testify that God, our Heavenly Father loves each of you. He knows your name. He knows of your circumstances. He hears your prayers and wants to bless you in every righteous desire through His Son, Jesus Christ. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity of attending BYU those many years ago. I’m grateful for the Spirit that is here both then and now. I truly am.”
“So here is my question: What are you going to do? I pray that you might feel inspired this season to use Heavenly Father’s love for you as a verb, and that what you need to do will be revealed to you in prayer.”